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Friday, March 9, 2007
Backpackers crossing Bering Strait rescued

Associated Press — March 9, 2007

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Army National Guard members on Thursday rescued three Korean backpackers stranded on an ice floe in the Bering Strait.

The backpackers were trying to walk across the ice pack from Russia and Alaska but somehow became stranded, Pierre said. They were picked up from a floe 17 miles southwest of Tin City on Alaska's western coast.

``Everything's good; there were no serious injuries,'' said McHugh Pierre, a spokesman for the Alaska Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.

The Russians would not allow the backpackers to cross unless they made emergency arrangements with someone in United States, Pierre said.

The backpackers carried a satellite phone and made a deal with a private service, but that company's helicopter had mechanical problems Thursday, Pierre said.

Instead, an Army National Guard helicopter picked up the backpackers, and took them to Nome.

The backpackers were identified as Park Yough Seok, 43; Oh Hee Joon, 36; and Lee Hyeong Mo, 38.